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The Clover Report: a girl guide war story of heroism

Musical Mania Productions salutes the heroic efforts of girl guides across Europe during the Second World War on May 17 at St. Albert Alliance Church
Paul Kane graduates Jenna Molenaar and Paige Hill star in The Clover Report, a 1940s story about the girl guides extraordinary service during the Second World War. The Clover Report will be featured at St. Albert Alliance Church on May 17.

Prior to COVID, St. Albert composer-lyricist Cindy Oxley was flipping through library books when she discovered a narrative titled How the Girl Guides Won the War

“At first, I thought it was a joke. I pulled it out and checked it, and it was full of anecdotes about how girl guides helped during World War II. I was shocked that I had never seen a musical or a TV show on it. When COVID broke out, Molly Leblanc (creator) and I turned it into a project,” said Oxley, artistic director of Musical Mania Production Company. 

At the 2023 Edmonton Fringe Festival, The Clover Report, received its world premiere to packed houses of people eager to see an original Canadian story. 

“But because of the Fringe Festival’s constraints, we had to shorten the show from 90 minutes to 60 minutes and maintain the structural integrity,” Oxley said. 

The show received so much support and requests for an encore, Musical Mania is performing The Clover Report in full on Friday, May 17 at St. Albert Alliance Church.  

Many of the hero-stature exploits Oxley and Leblanc adapted from the book include an escape from a Warsaw death camp, resisting Hitler’s nationalistic organizations, helping refugees, assisting the resistance, running messages and providing first aid. 

These were not your garden variety door-to-door cookie sellers. They were girls and young women of great strength and character who put their lives on the line during a great crisis but never made it into the history books.  

The bulk of The Clover Report is told through 27 songs stitched together by the spoken word. The Second World War tale begins when CBC reporter Peter Matthews is sent to cover the I Pax Ting, an international celebration of peace in Hungry in August 1939. Nearly 5,800 girl guides attended. 

The musical revolves around the lives of two girl guides: Olga from Poland and Alice from France as they navigate wartime duties. Much of the war is detailed through their eyes and their adventures in song. 

For instance, The New Normal reflects the changes of everyday life such as food shortages, the dangers of being outdoors after curfew and the increasing roles of spies and underground armies. 

“This is a song about people having to make do, but there is also triumph in the human spirit, and that really spoke to us. You see tragedy during war, fire and floods. You see the extreme. People sell a bottle of water for $5, but they also rush in to save a baby from a burning building.” 

In The Blizzard, Alice and her sister Marie Louise take on the responsibility of leading refugees and prisoners of war across the Alps. In Rachem, a Yiddish and Hebrew word for “mercy,” Olga sings of her love and hope for the baby she delivers in prison while Rapid Fire describes the events that led to Olga’s execution. 

But there are also moments of lightness in S.O.S. (You Stole My Heart), as The D Darlin’s, a radio trio sing in the style of The Andrews Sisters. There is also a powerful family reunion in Headed Home as Alice breaks out of prison and proceeds to help her sister escape and go home. 

“Tragedies like this are always going on. But we can step in and help. I remember watching a commercial on TV where a car breaks down and it’s raining. A passerby stops and offers the person in the car an umbrella. I believe we can’t do everything. But do something. We can always do something like the man with the umbrella.” 

The Clover Report mounts two shows on Friday, May 17 at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at St. Albert Alliance Church, 20 Villeneuve Road. Tickets are $15 to $20 and are available online at 

Anna Borowiecki

About the Author: Anna Borowiecki

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